In 2014, Meadow launched an on-demand directory, Getmeadow.com, connecting patients to dispensaries for on-demand cannabis delivery in California. The following year, Meadow became the first Y Combinator company to operate in the cannabis space and launched Meadow MD, a telemedicine platform connecting patients to physicians. In 2016, the company launched Meadow Platform, an SaaS platform built from the ground up for California cannabis retail and delivery.
Q&A with Entrepreneur & Meadow
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions cannabis industry?
The biggest misconception we encounter is the assumption that legalization in California translates to huge gains and profits for cannabis businesses. In fact, it's been very difficult to survive in the legal market due to the increased cost of compliance and a robust black market. Legal operators have to invest in permitting, premise build-outs, lab testing, packaging, taxes, and sourcing clean material. Most do not have access to bank accounts and capital, and cannot write off 280e business expenses. On top of that, there’s stiff competition from the black market, offering consumers lower prices by circumventing taxes and compliance costs.
How is your business innovating?
Meadow's innovation in cannabis technology comes from being on the ground floor with operators and regulators, and using that experience to build the most comprehensive and up-to-date software in the industry. Our team has taken great lengths to incorporate every nuance of California regulations into our software and deploy these compliance updates faster than any other technology provider--including tax calculations, collection and remittance, delivery manifests, and cycle counting. Meadow has deeper functionality than any competitors, with a team that stays up-to-date on changes in California regulations in real-time.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
The biggest hurdle we've overcome is building technology for an industry that had no prior software solutions; we embarked on an adventure in uncharted territory with no map. When we started building our software in 2014, most retail operators were using solutions designed for other industries or a barebones compilation of spreadsheets. We built our software from the ground up for these businesses, pivoting and updating as regulations emerged and changed. Our team has learned cannabis policy and operational acumen along the way to create a product that is fully compliant and serves all our partners' operational needs.
What is your favorite aspect of working in this industry?
Our favorite aspect of working in this business is the community; we have found that when we come together in the spirit of collaboration, we succeed. California has a deeply committed community of growers, operators, activists, and regulators. We hosted Meadowlands to bring together the community and facilitate conversations between industry operators and regulators. Our goal was to share knowledge and open channels of communication. We were blown away by participation and passion of those who attended, contributed, collaborated and shared their expertise.
What inspires you?
Cannabis inspires us, and we are driven by the opportunity to open access to cannabis to people across the state, the nation, and, eventually, the world. We are inspired every day as we see cannabis becoming decriminalized, normalized, accepted, and welcomed in people's lives.